Daily Photo – Wall of Water

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

One very big wave for one very small boogie boarder.


  • Shutter:  1/2000
  • Aperture:  f/4
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM + Canon 1.4x Extender (effective 420mm)

Composition and Processing

  • Even from the cliffs at Lighthouse Point, I had no way of shooting any tighter than this with my gear (other than the 2x extender, which is a touch sluggish with autofocus for this subject).  With 21mp I had some room to crop though, and brough it in tight to emphasize the height of the wave.  By not seeing past the top, and removing some of the foreground water, there are fewer reference points for scale.  The wall of water simply dwarfs the boarder and you lose sight of the fact he’s probably well in front of it at this point (and not about to be pummelled).  The compression of shooting at 420mm furthers that illusion.
  • One neat thing about surfing shots that emphasize the relationship of the rider to wave size is the way the path of the board tracks up into the lip of the wave.  This boogie boarder didn’t start there, or at least, not while the wave was breaking.  But it looks like he came hurtling down the now vertical surface.   Don’t get me wrong:  the guy in this photo is flying (literally;  he’s actually airborne in the shot).  But it wasn’t nearly so dramatic as it looks.


February 18 2009 07:51 pm | Photography

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply